Saturday, October 09, 2004

Blogger's Block

I face a blank post box and panic sets in. What to write? What will be snappy enough, interesting enough, compelling enough to keep people reading my blog? It is like writer's block in quick-time. Writer's block occurs in private. I sit at my desk and fiddle - piles of paper need straightening, pencils needs sharpening (or, in the electronic age, the keyboard needs cleaning). I suddenly remember a burning desire to Google the results of the presidential debate to see if the pundits agreed with me that George W is a loser.

Anything will do, just as long as I can avoid sitting up straight and looking at a blank Word doc on my monitor. And I can manage to do this for a quite long time, believe me. If nothing else, there is that cheesy little "vow" I make to play Spider Solitaire just until I win ... except that I play the variety with four suits at a time and my win ratio is currently 1%. Yeah, I'll be working on that masterpiece in no time ...

The point is that no one else knows about it. Even if Michael or Tori are in the house, I can usually fake them out and look like I'm doing serious thinking just prior to writing, or serious research about my writing, or, seriously, taking a well-deserved break from the punishing work of writing. Now, when I blog, the blank post box is just a stand-in for the expectant reader. I'm looking at empty white space and seeing the impatient, bored and never-returning faces of readers who are tired of checking my blog and finding the same old stuff is STILL THERE.

It is demoralizing. I can't always be charming, thoughtful, inventive or otherwise brilliant. But I want to be. I have not been away from my blog the last few days due to blogger's block, however. No, I have been busy, busy, busy. I am working on the chapbook for the WIVLA 2004 Collaboration Art Show "Twists and Turns" which is going to open on October 23 at the Museum of Printing History. You should come. The writing is fabulous; the art work will be, too.

This is my first chapbook. Did you know that chapbooks were collections of poems and stories sold by chapmen (peddlers) wandering the countryside in merrye olde England? It's true. And now chapbooks are little books produced by people that don't have enough work (or time or a publisher) for a "real" book. Poets produce a lot of chapbooks. I don't think this is a bad idea though. As my friend Zoe reminded me Friday on the way home from writers' group (we carpool): books used to be privately produced in small quantities for friends and family and were rare and valued.

Perhaps all of us writers should be producing chapbooks of our work and sharing them around with the people we know, who, because they know we need the money, will pay us real money for the work, instead of paying a bunch of money to Bruiser Bookstore, thus triggering a chain of events that results in the author getting 40 cents. Did you know that? Did you know that when you pay $30.00 for a book at Bruiser Bookstore, the author gets CENTS, not dollars, per book? And that if you buy it from Amazon, the author gets NOTHING, not dollars?

Writers work really hard producing strings of words that amaze, astound and madden us, and they hardly make any money at all. It's a shame really. I don't say this for myself, because I can't make money. I'm disabled (it's the lupus) and if I make a penny over the limit in any given year, they will take away my Medicare. Well, needless to say, I am uninsurable in America and therefore can not get healthcare coverage at any price (except through my husband's employer, which, since he got laid off, shows you the hole in that safety net). And therefore I can't risk losing my Medicare and therefore I can't make money, etc.

So actually, I am the perfect person to be a writer. I'm pretty good with words and it's in my best interest to stay poor ... and I am the perfect person to blog, which is writing for the whole world for the sheer joy of it. Which is how I conquer blogger's block.

Now, I have to stop for tonight. I am tired - lupus tired, which is more tired than you can imagine unless you have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The cells of my body are tired. My forehead is getting tired from being furled. My lungs are tired from breathing. My fingers are tired from pushing keys, especially because I'm making a lot of mistakes and I keep having to go back to fix things. So I need sleep.

Ciao for now.

P.S. I wish blogspot would fix the glitch that is keeping the post statistics from posting accurately and I truly hope someone besides me reads this blog.

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